It's a mouthful in any language. It was Austria's word of the year in 2016, and it attempted to describe what was happening in the federal elections. Its exact translation divides us linguistically but unites us in our bafflement. That shared bafflement extends to the violent and vicious sentiments that engulf us today, to the buffet of hatred that sits before us, enticing each of us to partake.

Randy Newman describes it this way:

"It's a jungle out there

Disorder and confusion everywhere

No one seems to care

Well I do."

Toni Morrison, admonishes us:

"I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence".

But what if the malevolence spews out of the highest office in the land? How does dignity hold its head high, empathy nod its gentle brow? Do we not know that life is tenuous, equally precious to the baby in Zimbabwe and the grandparent in Ukraine? How can the child soldier, forced to kill, understand that death is irreversible? Robin Coste Lewis has written: "The world sits on the edge of God's razor. And every day - every day - he shaves his fat face".

Then why not despair? Why create art, why write poetry, why try to make sense of what seems to be a spreading quicksand that relentlessly seeks to engulf us?

I paint, I sculpt, I write, because I must. Because it is important to remember what draws us together as humans. Because the beating of a newborn heart can make mountains tremble and thunderbolts shiver.

In an essay from the early 1950's, Pablo Neruda says: "I have since left my words on the door of so many people who were unknown to me, people in prison, or hunted, or alone."

And I add: people who have been made rootless. People who worship in many colors, or people who don't worship at all. Children who fear, and adults who question. People who give up, or people who fall down. I don't know them, but I share their yearnings. I speak to all of us, any of us, each of us. I cast the light of my imagination on the darkness of our longings.

Yes, Randy. No one seems to care. But you do. And I do.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2017

"Longing" is part of the collection of the Peninsula Museum of Art in Burlingame, California.

I am reminded of the words of William Butler Yeats: "Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".

Viewers might want to read Whitaker's series, "If We Are Erased" for a visual and poetic guide to where we may be headed. As one reviewer wrote: "What if we are Erased??? Corinne - has blown our minds again! She simply takes what we are pretending isn't a possibility, brings it to the visual and makes us pay attention. You can not get past the power of her images. Her words and images - often haunting, are indeed revealing. Is this only in her mind or can we get there from here??? Designed to put on a table where all can see - a powerful discussion is sure to follow".